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02 Aug Artist Spotlight: Thel Petty

Jazz guitarist, Thel Petty, performs regularly in the Carolinas in a variety of settings and venues with a number of great players in the Charlotte area. Self-taught as a teenager, he played rock and R&B in the late 1970’s and 80’. His musical interest turned to jazz when in high school he was the guitarist for the school jazz band as well as other R&B and funk bands.
He has become in-demand as a Jazz player and is recognized as an outstanding soloist by many Charlotte area musicians. Thel plays a hand-made Mesrobian Soloist which was custom-built for him by a luthier, Carl Mesrobian of Salem Massachusetts. He is a member of the Charlotte Jazz Society.

Thel often plays at Coffey & Thompson Gallery for the South End Gallery Crawl.

How long have you known you wanted to be a musician?

At age 13.

Describe your aesthetic in 3 words …

Practice, Appreciate other guitarists and Practice more…


Describe your artistic process and preparation?

Listening to other established guitarist but not duplicating their work. Just knowing the effort that was required to reach a given level.

Favorite piece you’ve created to date and why?

I do not have a favorite musical selection. The ability to improv has been a lifelong goal. It has gotten better over time.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

No artist really. I appreciate all forms of music. I play mostly because I enjoy playing and having the ability to create and, of course, family.

Biggest accomplishment to date?

Being hired to play in Las Vegas for a corporate business summit.

Favorite location to create/what is your studio like?

Home and while entraining others. Nothing special.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

Family and friends.

Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

Joe Pass and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years?

To become the very best Jazz Guitar Improvisor possible. The ability to improv has been a lifelong goal. It has gotten and will continue to improve over time.

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